Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who's On the Phone

Today's entry inspired by Michael's Fishbowl's adaptation of the classic Abbott & Costello's "Who's On First" bit in honor of the US visit by Chinese President Hu. Seriously. Go read it. That bit never gets old.

Long, long ago, perhaps in another life, I was an elementary school secretary.

No. Really. I was.

Don't you know that when you spend 4 years studying Sociology and Psychology you are qualified to do/be (do/be do/be do) much of anything? Thus, I took a job in which I could spend my days observing - and ofttimes being rendered speechless by - the sheer brilliance, charm, and stupidity of the human offspring ages 4 to 12.

You may be surprised to know this was, in reality, a pretty fun job. Sure, it had its moments...typically on Thursdays which, for some unknown reason, always seemed to be the day we'd have to call the police and social services...but generally I enjoyed myself, my co-workers, and *gasp* the kids.

Part of my love for this job, frankly, stemmed from the vast refugee/immigrant population we served. Children from all over the world flocked to my little corner of urban Denver - from Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Croatia - and I loved every last one of those punkins. So cute! And well-behaved (well...except for the one - my personal favorite, Anab - but she's a story for another time).

As such, there was a wonderful, sweet family from China with a child by the name of Ho Yu enrolled. And, even though his parents didn't speak any English, they were always so conscientious about calling to let me know when Ho Yu would be absent from school.

The conversation would go something like this:

Me:  [redacted] Elementary School. This is Jane.

Mrs./Mr./Grandma Ho Yu:  Ho Yu! Ho Yu!

Me: Ah! Ho Yu will not be at school today?

Mrs./Mr./Grandma Ho Yu:  Yes. Ho Yu.

Me: Thank you for calling! Goodbye.

This system worked for us. Until...

One day, the school office was INSANELY busy! It was snowing outside, the busses were running late, kids were coming in attempting to get tardy passes and dripping muddy slush all over the floor, the phones ringing. Off. The. Hook.

The principal came in and, in an attempt to help me, I heard her pick up the phone. And this is what I heard...

Principal:  [redacted] Elementary School...What?...What?...Excuse me?...(yelling) I'M THE PRINCIPAL. WHO YOU?!


Diva said...


Betsy Taggart said...

Priceless . . .

MsSparrow said...


zero hour said...


Michael said...

That's a funny story! I thought Thursday's moments maybe came from lunch being pizza burgers. I don't remember much from elementary school, but I remember loving pizza burgers and your story made me remember them!